Saturday, October 3, 2009

Where is Australia?

Australia was one of the three countries under the Kyoto protocol which could actually increase their emissions above the 1990 base year. But now Australia’s energy and pollution is spiraling out of control and now the world’s largest per capita emitter of polluting gases! Just a comparison: Some data state that Australia’s 19 million people pollute environment as much as Indonesia’s 200million people.

Inspite of Australia now being the largest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases, I don’t see t Australia in picture as often as we see China or India or E.U or United States. There is a lot of pressure on India, which is just a developing country and has a per capita emission lesser than world’s average per capita. Reports also say that it would lesser than world’s average per capita emissions even in 2020. The Australian government itself agrees that it is on the road to increase the greenhouse pollution by 20% by 2020, but has agreed for only 5% cut in emissions below 2000s levels which is approximately around 4%below 1990s levels by 2020. It might agree for a maximum cut of 15% emissions below 2000levels if all major economies commit to substantially restrain emissions.

When US is hell bent upon India to commit to emissions limits, it hasn’t objected Australia’s decision. India is the home for over one-sixth of world’s population and contributes just little less than 5% of total greenhouse emissions compared to US’s and China’s20%(each) contribution to global greenhouse emissions. Yes, India is one of the largest emitter of green house gases but is it fair to consider India on par with US or Australia? One should consider per capita emission of a country not the total.

Australia’s low participation in climate talks has been objected mostly by their citizens, there is hardly any pressure from other countries. This is making it very difficult for the people in Australia who are persuading the government to take substantial steps to fight climate change.

The responsibility of mitigating climate change largely lies in the hands of all developed countries now. Also, it doesn’t mean that developing nations shouldn’t take measures to reduce their emissions and should ensure that steps taken to for their country’s development are not going to very harmful for the environment. Whats disheartening is watching Australia and other developed nations deciding on their emissions targets depending on what the developing nations would agree to. It is not feasible for developing nations to cap their emissions to as much as developed nations should. If at all developing nations and developed nations agree to similar cuts in emissions then it would either drastically slow down developing nations’ economic growth or make it impossible for mankind to do any good to the environment.

Anindita Nayak

1 comment:

  1. Hi Anindita,
    Yes,people in Australia are concerned about its emissions and hopefully the Government is taking the appropriate steps to curtail it. However, there are some of us in our small way are helping. We have written a song and slideshow and put it on YouTube.It can be used totally free by anybody if it will help educate about climate change. Go to YouTube type in...
    ...where we going to go David Todd. It will come up. If you feel it has merit please feel free to use it.Keep up the good work.
    Des Todd.